One of the storylines in the 2018 Republican Primary for Corporation Commission was the work that Eric Sloan did, or did not do, as Chairman of the Arizona Coalition for Reliable Electricity (ACRE). ACRE, an independent expenditure group, was funded by Pinnacle West (the parent corporation of APS) to the tune of $4,000,000.
The idea that someone trusted by APS, with four million dollars to elect commission candidates in 2016, would be running as an independent watchdog in 2018 was questioned by Sloan’s GOP rivals.
Sloan insisted that his work was not about the Commission and that he was working for a non-profit that was helping to elect Republicans statewide. He implied that his work deserved some of the credit for helping Donald Trump win Arizona. Sloan even went so far as to attack the candidates, who were questioning his work, by insinuating that if they opposed his work, then they opposed the idea of helping Republicans like Trump get elected.
However, documents released last week by APS make it clear that the only purpose of the group was to elect Republicans Burns, Tobin, and Dunn to the Corporation Commission, and 100% of the money spent by the group was exclusively for the benefit of those three candidates. No other GOP candidates anywhere in the state, including Donald Trump, were involved or benefited.
Given the enormous sums of money involved and the very specific candidates Sloan was helping, it is highly unlikely he could not accurately recall his actions less than two years later. So questions about his independence from APS were fair in 2018 and will be fair again in 2020, given that Sloan is running for the Commission again, in spite of his last place finish in the 2018 GOP primary.
Sloan’s 2020 campaign message is that he will “put people before corporate profits,” but given how uncomfortable voters are with the cozy relationships they perceive between APS and current commissioners, it could be a tough sell for APS’ Four Million Dollar Man.